This “Ground Zero” mosque controversy has begun to rankle me. It is my understanding that those who want to build the "ground zero" mosque own the property there.
Secondly, it really isn’t adjacent to the old World Trade Center site, but a few blocks away.
Even if it is adjacent, however, if the first part is true, then it is theirs to build what they wish. I may or may not be happy about it, but they are the property owners and what is built there is their business.
The Anti-Defamation League seems to understand that as well, however, under the guise of "doing what is right" it acknowledges the mosque builder’s rights but then dismisses them in favor of the bigotry of those who oppose them. In a statement they said:
Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right. So the bigotry expressed in this is "unfair, and wrong", but to hell with rights, we’ll side with the arbitrary and subjective "what is right".
An amazing statement coming from a group which was founded to fight bigotry against Jews.
Thankfully not all Jews feel that way. They also understand how profoundly wrong headed the ADL’s statement is. From J-Street:
The principle at stake in the Cordoba House controversy goes to the heart of American democracy and the value we place on freedom of religion. Should one religious group in this country be treated differently than another? We believe the answer is no.
As Mayor Bloomberg has said, proposing a church or a synagogue for that site would raise no questions. The Muslim community has an equal right to build a community center wherever it is legal to do so. We would hope the American Jewish community would be at the forefront of standing up for the freedom and equality of a religious minority looking to exercise its legal rights in the United States, rather than casting aspersions on its funders and giving in to the fear-mongerers and pandering politicians urging it to relocate.
Exactly right. Another way of saying all of this is “grow up”. You either have religious freedom and ownership rights or you don’t. It isn’t a “right” if it can be selectively applied under the arbitrary rubric of “what is right” fueled by bigotry.
And, as inevitable as the rising sun, you can count on politicians gearing up for a run for office to grab the populist opportunity to chime in and side with the bigots because it is the popular thing to do. Newt Gingrich issued this statement:
Throughout its nearly 100 year history, the cause of religious tolerance has had no better friend than the Anti-Defamation League. The organization’s stand today in opposition to the proposed 13-story Islamic Center near Ground Zero is entirely in keeping with that tradition. They recognize the provocative nature of the proposal, that its construction will only result in more pain for the families of 9/11 victims and fan the flames of inter-religious strife. Abe Foxman and the leaders of the Anti-Defamation League deserve praise for taking such a careful look at this issue and arriving at the right conclusion.
And Gingrich’s spokesman had this to say:
Newt Ginrich’s spokesman told Salon in a phone interview today that building a mosque at Ground Zero "would be like putting a statue of Mussolini or Marx at Arlington National Cemetery."
That’s pure crap unless you want to make the same comparison to, oh I don’t know, a Catholic church in Spain following the Inquisition.
Look, this is manufactured “outrage” and pure and simple bigotry. We are either a nation of religious tolerance and property rights or we’re not. There’s no in-between. It’s like every other right – you may not like all of what it brings, but that’s just the price of freedom.